Patent trolls are here to stay
Here are some fundamental truths:
- Patents are not self-enforcing, nor does the state enforce your patent rights;
- A patent is nothing more than a call option to sue, and unless the patent owner enforces its rights, a patent is worthless;
- Enforcing patents is hard and requires expertise, resources, tenacity, and capital;
- No business can be good at everything; every business needs to focus on a few core competencies; and,
- Very few businesses have expertise in patent enforcement.
Accordingly, as long as we have patents, it is inevitable that we are going to have businesses whose core competency is in patent enforcement.
Moreover, for additional reasons – such as ‘reputation management’ – entities that produce a lot of patents (like universities and research labs), have a lot to gain by outsourcing the dirty work of enforcing their patents to third parties.
So it is well past time that we got past calling patent licensing and patent assertion entities nasty names, and learned to love our favorite trolls.